516 ARTS presents When the Dogs Stop Barking (October 1 – December 31, 2022) in the upstairs gallery, curated by Rachelle B. Pablo (Diné). This exhibition, Pablo’s first exhibition as Curator at 516 ARTS, displays the work of five artists whose compassionate and personal looks at the humanitarian crisis extend 3,154 kilometer/1,954 miles from the Gulf of Mexico’s shores to the Pacific Ocean coastlines. The landscapes hold memories of survivance where political divisiveness and humanitarian turmoil converge. The US Border Patrol and Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents constantly monitor this militarized zone, imprisoning countless asylum seekers in internment camps. It is a forbidding landscape full of harsh obstacles and violent activity—many who attempt the grueling journey to cross the border fail and lose their lives.
The artworks in this exhibition recount hard truth-telling while honoring migrants’ grit, courage, and will to survive. In Makaye Lewis’ print titled Roxy Didn’t Even Bark, the artist reveals how migrants possess a non-threatening presence throughout Tohono O’odham landscapes. The predisposition of a barking dog is to alert when there is a threatening presence, and the migrants do not provoke barks of warning. Lewis shares that her dog knew the difference between migrants and people in the community because the dog would still bark at community members.” The selected works displayed in When the Dogs Stop Barking challenge the notion of what or who is a threat.
Featured artists ranging from their 20s to their 70s include: Makaye Lewis (T’ohono Odham), who brings insight about her people’s Nation caught on both sides of the” invisible line” through woodblock prints; Juana Estrada Hernández, a DACA recipient who exposes how the border transfigures humans into a “negative identity— into enemies of the nation” through printmaking and drawing; Haley Greenfeather English (Red Lake/Turtle Mountain-Ojibwe/Irish) and Yvette Serrano, who bring attention to the plight of imprisoned migrants and the harsh realities of the private prison-industrial complex that detain them through painting and sculpture; and Joshua W. Wells, whose sculptures and prints address the failed attempts by those willing to undertake the journey to reach a land of opportunity.
By Kathaleen Robert, September 30, 2022
By Bethany Tabor, September 26, 2022